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Jun 7, 2013

Abidal: I won't rule any club out

Eric Abidal has said he will not rule out any club as he considers his next move after a bitter departure from Barcelona.

Abidal, 33, saw his six-year stay in Catalonia come to an end at the conclusion of the La Liga season as Barca opted not to renew his contract.

Having undergone surgery for a liver tumour in March 2011, Abidal then had a liver transplant in April 2012.

He battled back to return to the first team a year later, but the club then decided to let him leave. A number of clubs, particularly in Ligue 1, are pursuing Abidal, who is keeping his options open.

"I want to keep playing, but I don't know where," the left-back told RMC Radio. "A lot of clubs are taking an interest in me.

"I'm getting quite a few messages. I have to make the right decision and must take my time. I won't rule out any club. The door is open."

While a transfer in Spain is also a possibility - "it would avoid my family having to move," he said - a return to France seems the most probable outcome.

Abidal said he had already spoken to Nice coach Claude Puel, under whom he played at Lille, and Remi Garde, the boss of Lyon, another of his former sides. Monaco, the club at which he began his career, are also in the hunt.

"I could finish at Monaco or take on the bigger challenge of a team that's in the Champions League," Abidal said.

"Monaco could have a great team for next season and aim for the highest places in the table. For me, it could be a good challenge to come full circle as I started there.

“But I don't have any priority, whether it be Monaco or anyone else."

Abidal's determination to make the right choice is also motivated by his ambition to play for his country again.

He has not featured for Les Bleus since a friendly win in Germany in February 2012, but has not given up hope of working his way into Didier Deschamps' plans.

"I have to play at a club first. I hope to find a club and enjoy myself. Then, I'll be available for selection," Abidal, who has 61 caps, explained.

"The World Cup in Brazil would be the icing on the cake. To finish in Brazil would be huge."

He said he remained disillusioned over his departure from Barcelona, adding: "I don't understand. I fought for them. I'm in great shape. They didn't give me a reason - they told me it was a professional decision.

"I have to accept it. Of course it brings into question my ability to continue playing. I'm the first to judge my condition. I don't want to put my life in danger. That's why I'm a bit annoyed with the club's decision."

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